Perhaps there is no perfect school where all the teachers, students and their parents are happy. But one school in Macau is experimenting, with students deciding to do what might be good for them. At the kindergarten section of Escola Sao Paulo (St Paul's School), some fish were needed to complete the newly installed aquarium. Instead of teachers deciding what fish to buy, the children voted through the kindergarten's student association. 'People said, 'You are crazy. They are four years old, how can they make decisions?'' recalled the principal, Father Alejandro Salcedo. 'But they can.' Sometimes, the students make mistakes. They chose two types of fish that cannot get along together. 'We told them the two fish would kill each other. But they said, 'No, the fish would look nice together',' Father Salcedo said. 'So they got what they wanted, and after a while, the fish disappeared. It was a lesson for them.' A parent of a St Paul's primary school student owns a supermarket in the neighbourhood. During Maths Week, the parent took charge of the activities and turned the school playground into a supermarket. Primary Six students acted as cashiers, while Primary One students bought snacks for a few patacas. Parents are an asset to the school, and the school should use their know-how, Father Salcedo said. In the secondary section at Escola S?o Paulo, students evaluate their teachers' performance at the end of the year, a task usually done by the principals and the head of departments. The students' comments have been surprising. 'Complaints like 'This teacher was too strict' or 'He makes us work too hard' never came up,' said Father Salcedo. 'The students were more concerned with not learning enough, or not having enough homework.' Escola S?o Paulo is a school where students and parents are gradually taking charge, guided by the principals and teachers. Six years ago, Father Salcedo launched a 15-year plan aimed at involving students from kindergarten to Form Six in the school's decision-making process. A school that spoon-feeds students becomes boring. But, at St Paul's, senior students teach classes in lower forms. Parents with a certain expertise also conduct sessions. For instance, a biology or chemistry lesson can be taught by a parent who is a nurse or a doctor. 'We surprise the students every day,' Father Salcedo said.